Raiders steal guns and grenades
RAIDERS have stolen seven guns, a sword and two old grenades from Felixstowe's historic Landguard Fort, it was revealed today.Police said all the weapons had been deactivated and could not be used in their present state – but it was possible for someone with specialist expertise to reactivate them.
By RICHARD CORNWELL
RAIDERS have stolen seven guns, a sword and two old grenades from Felixstowe's historic Landguard Fort, it was revealed today.
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Police said all the weapons had been deactivated and could not be used in their present state – but it was possible for someone with specialist expertise to reactivate them.
The growing menace of gun crime in Britain has seen decommissioned weapons reactivated and used by criminals, and in some places the work to put them in working order can be done for as little as £10.
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But the guns stolen from the fort all date back to the 1940s and are unlikely to be able to be used without extensive and complicated work because of their age and condition.
Police say it is much more likely they will be sold on as historical military artifacts and are today appealing for people in the trade to be alert in case they are offered the stolen items.
David Tolliday, manager of the fort, which is run by the Landguard Fort Trust, said the items were taken from exhibitions at the monument and from a store room.
"It is a great shame because we have had very little trouble at the fort in the past few years and no break-ins for a long time," he said.
"Years ago youngsters were able to get in and around the building and it was always being broken into.
"With the work being done on the fort, the security has been improved tremendously and it is now awfully difficult to get in at all."
Mr Tolliday said the trust was gradually building up the number of artifacts in its possession for displays which had been put up and were planned for the future.
"They would only be able to sell them in a specialist market and we have very accurate records of the guns, photos, serial numbers and the decommissioning certificates, which any dealer would want to see," he said.
A police spokeswoman said forensic scientists were gathering evidence from the scene and officers were also studying CCTV film from the port which covers the fort and has been used in the past to catch burglars.
She said anyone who had visited the fort area over the weekend who might have seen people acting suspiciously should contact 01473 613500.